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October 1, 2019

Pumpkin, The King of Sweet and Savory

As declared by Felix Salmon in a 2012 New York Magazine, ‘Pumpkin is the NEW Bacon!’ There seems to be a cult like devotion to pumpkin this fall. Pumpkin is no longer reserved for the humble pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving time; it has become a flavor additive to sweet and savory dishes. LSRs and FSRs have picked up on this trend.  Pumpkin has been the latest menu craze, appearing in everything from alcoholic beverages to pasta dishes. According to Datassential, this year looks to be the most active year for seasonal pumpkin menuing. In the beverage department, pumpkin drink offerings have increased 400 percent during the past five years!  Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte has been in such high demand that there has been a shortage.


It’s just as much about the spices as it is the pumpkin. Pumpkin on its own is not an exciting vegetable but when paired with a blend of fall spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice) it becomes the flavor people associate fall with. In fact, the aroma of the pumpkin spice blend is powerful enough that you don’t even need to actually have pumpkin in your dish to capitalize on this fall flavor. Cash in on this seasonal flavor by incorporating fall spices into your LTO’s.

Also, amidst rising crop prices, the price of pumpkins have remained the same. Pumpkins are drought resistant and this year’s crop wasn’t badly affected so this makes pumpkin one of the most economical vegetables to cook with this season.

Indulge your customers by offering up a pumpkin LTO. Soups make for an easy way to incorporate the sweet and savory flavors of pumpkin into your menu. Why not try a few of our favorites:

• Pumpkin White Bean Soup: A healthy and hearty vegetarian option that incorporates the flavors of the season. Garnish with toasted pepitas.

• Jamaican Pumpkin Sweet Potato Soup: Craving something spicy? This Jamaican soup combines sweet pumpkin, seasonal spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and hot sauce.

• Pumpkin and Crab Bisque: This soup calls for crab and lobster meat but feel free to use any available seafood or leftover protein of your choice.

Do you have any pumpkin dishes on your menu?

Mike Speranza, CEC
Corporate Executive Chef, East Region
Custom Culinary, Inc.